When I first heard the word minimalism, I imagined a very stark and uninviting way of living.  And even though, at the time, I didn't believe I would ever adopt that lifestyle, I was curious and wanted to learn more.  I began reading and educated myself in the ideas behind it and acknowledged that my life would benefit from a minimalist approach to acquiring things and keeping some of the things I already had.

As I embraced the minimalist's view of "stuff", I began closely looking at the "stuff" in my house and boxes of "stuff" in unopened in my basement, I began to feel uneasy and stifled.  I could feel the heavy presence of the "stuff" that takes residence in closets, cabinets, boxes and tubs and I began to feel claustrophobic and guilty!  There was so much I was not using and others could!  That was very powerful to me.  It made me feel selfish and I never viewed myself as such. 

I know that just about every area of my home can use a purge. 

I did manage to clear out a lot of things when we moved across country, but I brought things with us that I thought "I may use that in VA even though I rarely used it in CA."  And I haven't used a lot of it.  My lifestyle is not that different here than it was there.  So I plan to sell a lot of the items that are still packed carefully away in the basement and begin to clear items that are in my home and that do not bring me JOY.

I have many things that DO bring me joy in my home and they are not going anywhere.   I have a large jar displaying beach rocks that my parents collected on a trip to Europe decades ago.  It reminds adventure and love and makes me happy to see it.  I also have beach rocks, shells and sea glass in a shallow glass bowl that I collected over my lifetime. Beaches in San Diego and San Felipe, Mexico. A photo my dad took of the harbor also hangs nearby.  A pair of metal owl candle holders perch on my fireplace mantle and remind me of a far away best friend. My grandmother's wooden clock stands next to them.  Another fond childhood memory of the ticking and chimes in my grandparent's home and all the goodness and love of time spent with them. 

My office bookshelf is full of many items, that all bring me contentment, and displayed in one central place and it is inspiring to me as I write.  Quilts handmade by my great grandmothers are out where I can see then and remind me of my heritage and hard work to make the life I have.

My kitchen went through a big purge when we moved, as did my wardrobe.  I am still working very hard to continue to eliminate more from my closet and keep things that work well together and are more monochromatic with a few colorful accessories to keep it fresh.  Of course, now that we live in a four season climate, my wardrobe has changed, but the theme is the same.  I can already see the benefits and I feel more put together.  Plus, it takes me less time to figure out my clothes in the morning or for special occasions, now that I have adopted this change in my closet. 

I am ready to clear out the rest of the clutter that has no meaning, and unburden myself of the weight of "stuff".  My minimalist journey has been very liberating so far, and I am looking forward to see what else I will make changes to going forward.



A word for the year.  What word will propel me in 2018?  What holds me back from realizing my dreams? I have been struggling with this idea for some time.  I have known what it's been but unable to say it out loud, much less put it on the record, but here it is.

FEAR. The kind that is cloaked in caution and keeps me from taking chances with my talent.  The kind that keeps me static, stopped and stagnant.

Instead, I want to see the flow of words on paper, and feel the energy of ideas streaming and building stories from them.  There is one way to do that.

I will be FEARLESS.  This is my word for 2018. My word.  My actions shall be FEARLESS.

I will leap more. Jump with my eyes open to the possibilities.  I will keep taking steps forward. The hours, days and months that have been wasted with FEAR will, this year, be spent leaping forward into what might be. 




On a frigid Virginia morning, standing still, in a moment, I felt the future, present and the past colliding, both joy and pain mixing in my tears as the cold air filled my lungs and I found peace in the crunch of icy snow underneath my boots. 

The bare trees reached to the sky as if begging for spring to return and clothe them in new leaves.  I tilted my head back and closed my eyes breathing in the cleansing air and thanked God for the season.

And at the same time of year, less than two years ago, I was walking along in wet sand on the Coronado shore's edge, listening to the rhythmic crash of waves as the cold salt water raced across the top of my bare feet.  Then, the ocean pulled them back and my feet sunk into the sand with the pull of the tide.

I closed my eyes, inhaled the salty sea air and heard a seagull's cry overhead with another resounding crash of waves behind me.

As I embrace 2018, I will remember both the cleansing of winter and the eternal song of the ocean.



It almost feels surreal.  I look out my window and see the wooded backdrop beyond my back yard.  The snow frosted trees stretch to the sky above the snow blanketed ground.  It takes my breath away and I blink to make sure this is not a dream. When I open my eyes, it is all still here, making me smile and thankful. 

Just 3  months ago, I was one with long commutes to work, freeway traffic, xeriscaping, water shortages, hot days and nights. In California.  A place I had lived for just about all of my life. A place I'd grown to hate.  My heart yearned for green, for trees, for seasons, and yes, for cold weather. Anyone following my blog knows that my eyes have been on Tennessee for a long time.  And that hasn't changed. 

Last summer, my husband was offered employment in Virginia....and here we are!  In a little more than a month's time, we notified our family and friends, packed up our four bedroom home, flew to Virginia and bought a house and watched a gigantic moving truck pull away with all of our belongings.

We followed two days later, with our RAM loaded with some things we planned to bring out ourselves, our pup, Gemma and all of the excitement of a cross country drive to a new home.

We made it in  6 days.  Gallup, NM to Oklahoma City,OK to Kearney, MO to Lexington, KY and finally Fredericksburg, VA.  Several nights in hotels, a stop to visit and stay with a best friend and a stay with cousins and family before our final stop. 

It was Fall, the glorious color of changing leaves--the weather was still warm and then began to change to crisp chilly mornings and evenings and rain, oh beautiful rain!   I watched every day the leaves slowly falling into our yard...leaving the trees bare and stark against the sky.  The view from our back deck changes daily--I feel so blessed to enjoy the seasonal changes.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and now our first snow! 

I am soaking it all in.  It nurtures my soul.  I love living outside of "town". I love the country roads and my friends I've made here. I love our new church and how welcomed we are.   I love how I feel here.  Alive and energized.  I can feel my creativity again.  I can hear my muse coming out of her long hibernation.

I can feel something good in my writing journey has begun.



It was Mother's Day 1992. I was 36 years old and the mama of four young children ages 13, 11, 4 and 3.

I was wrapping up the day after hosting a house full of family.  This day had been loud and fun and messy.  Adults chatting and children laughing chasing up and down the hall--doors opening, doors slamming, messes to mop up in the kitchen, drinks to refill, snacks to replenish.

A typical Mother's Day with a growing family.

In a quiet moment, I realized the youngest, my three year old son Taylor, was not in the family room playing in the pile of Legos, Tinkertoys and Hot Wheel cars and he wasn't with his brother or sisters. 

Where was he? When had anyone last seen him?

After a quick search of the house, and realizing our golden retriever, Sophie, was also MIA, we concluded that Taylor had gone outside with her and the two of them were probably traipsing around our rural property on their own adventure.  I remember searching over the two acres of white-rail fenced land and yelling for both of them.  Panic and fear grew stronger with every call out to them and getting in return, silence.  No little boy laughter, no barking dog.

My heart pounded hard as I jumped into my green van and drove slowly down the long narrow quarter-mile asphalt drive, peering over the steering wheel, the pair of empty car seats behind me in the back seat, my eyes scanning left and right across the neighbors' yards for any sign of Taylor or Sophie.

I prayed hard.  Tears threatened to spill, but I blinked them back and exhaled a sigh of relief that he'd not fallen in my neighbor's pool as I drove past.  He was three.  He couldn't swim.  He was my baby. My brain cycled through scenarios.  All of our neighbors knew him.  Surely he'd be spotted.  Had someone taken him?  He was my b-a-b-y.  My mind could go no further into that darkness.

I wanted to drive faster, but I needed to go as slow as I could, to keep an eye out across the acreage of each property for any sign of either of them. 

Five minutes felt like hours, as I rounded the final turn and followed the avocado grove lined section leading down to the dirt road where several driveways converged. 

I leaned to look through the rows of trees to my left and glimpsed the top of Sophie's wagging tail as she romped through the heavy cover of fallen leaves.  I slammed on the brakes, put the car in park and jumped out.  I could see Taylor behind her, laughing and running, not a care in the world.

"Sophie"  I called out and she bounded toward me.  I slid the van's side panel door open and she jumped inside.

Taylor was still running behind her, now toward me, smiling from ear to ear with joy, then tripped and fell face first in the leaves.  He got back up, but now he was crying.

"You're fine.  Brush off and come on and get in the van"  I called to him, relieved I'd found him safe but now aggravated he'd scared everyone by leaving the property. 

He wiped both hands off on his shirt, still crying hard.  Suddenly, I saw blood soaked the front of his shirt.  I ran to him and yanked his shirt up.  Nothing. His little belly didn't have a mark on it.  I grabbed both of his little hands at the same time and turned them palms side up...one revealed an ugly jagged gash across it. He'd fallen on a broken piece of metal sprinkler line in the grove and was bleeding--a lot.

My heart began pounding hard again. I scooped him up and grabbed a towel from the back seat and wrapped it around his hand and told him to hold it there, buckled him into his car seat and drove him back to the house.

Once his hand had been cleaned up, I immediately knew we were spending the rest of Mother's Day in the Emergency Room.  So after securing the dog and  leaving our 13 year old in charge of her siblings, instructing them to sit tight and watch a movie, we headed to the local hospital.

During our predictably long wait, Taylor kept uncovering and inspecting his wound, then would thrust his palm in my face (and anyone else's face nearby) saying, "See my boo-boo?"  Not everyone was as impressed with it as he was (considering the 'ick' factor), and I had to keep reminding him to leave the bandage on until the doctor could look at it. 

That night after we got back home and all the kiddos were tucked in, I crawled into my own bed, tired and relieved that my day had ended with a much better outcome than I'd feared earlier. 

It was the close of my Mother's Day and my sweet youngest son's adventure made it a day I would always look back on with a thankful heart.